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Americans Oppose Federal Efforts to Shift Citizens to Digital-Only Information

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Consumers for Paper Options, a coalition advocating for equal access to government services and information, this past week announced the results of a national poll showing that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose federal efforts to eliminate paper-based information and services.

Recent federal decisions to eradicate paper-based options for key services—such as Social Security checks, savings bonds, and income tax forms—have rendered these services difficult or even impossible for millions of Americans to access while exposing them to rising fraud. In fact, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing late last week to examine fraud as a result of the Social Security electronic payments mandate.

Below are key findings from the Consumers for Paper Options survey:

  • 73% of respondents said that it is extremely (50%) or somewhat (23%) wrong to require anyone to go online to interact with government agencies
  • 89% of respondents said that the government's "paperless policies" disadvantage the elderly, disabled, low income, and poorly educated
  • 85% said that, prior to imposing policies that restrict paper-based information and services, government agencies should be required to submit to congressional oversight
  • 84% say it is not OK for companies that send bills, statements, and informational documents such as proxies or privacy statements to force customers to receive those documents in electronic format only.

"The government's efforts to go paperless are certainly hurting Americans caught in the digital divide, but this survey proves that citizens of all ages and income levels are united in the belief that the government should not force people to go digital," said John Runyan, executive director of Consumers for Paper Options. "While online services work for many Americans, the majority still objects to the idea that the government should decide how we access important services. It's time for Congress to act and ensure that paper-based services are preserved for citizens who want them."

The executive summary, which contains more information and additional survey data, is available online.

Consumers for Paper Options supports H. Res. 97, a bipartisan resolution recently introduced by Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Mike Michaud (D-Maine). The resolution seeks to reverse federal initiatives to eliminate paper-based information and services.

The structured survey was conducted by research firm InfoTrends using 3,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/-1.8%.


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